Coronavirus: What the Public Should Do

The current outbreak of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) originated in China but has now spread internationally, impacting an increasing number of countries. Sustained community spread is occurring in China. Limited person-to-person spread, most associated with close contact with a patient with confirmed 2019-nCoV has been seen outside of China. No community spread of 2019-nCoV has been identified in the United States at this time. In the coming days and weeks, we expect more confirmed cases in the United States, including some person-to-person spread. The goal of CDCs aggressive ongoing public health response is to prevent spread of 2019-nCoV in in the United States.

Read the full release from the CDC here, including what you should and shouldn’t do.

How is the Town Working to Reduce our Municipal Energy Use?

In 2017 Blandford became one of the 271 communities (out of 351) in Massachusetts to achieve Green Communities certification, which granted our Town $138,425 to fund energy conservation measures in the Town Hall, at the Water Treatment Plant, and the Highway Garage. This designation is quite an achievement and reflects the hard work and tireless effort Blandford has exhibited in meeting the Green Communities Designation and Grant Program’s Criteria. We invested the funding into seven energy conservation projects across the town. The majority of these projects were lighting retrofits, where the existing inefficient lighting was replaced with efficient LED technology. Six municipal buildings have had partial or complete lighting retrofits since 2017. These buildings include: Town Hall, the Water Treatment Plant, the Highway Garage, the Library, the Historical Building, and the Post Office.

The remaining Green Community’s grant funding was used to install variable frequency drives on the hot water circulation system at Town Hall and to fund administrative support for grant administration.

Combined, the total cost of these projects was $164,803. Incentives from utilities paid for $33,742 of the project cost, while the Green Community designation grant covered $131,061. In total the completed projects are anticipated to save Blandford 80,321 kWh of electricity annually and $14,045 in annual cost savings. Click here to see what this energy use reduction means in terms of Greenhouse Gas emissions equivalencies.

Now that we have completed our first round of projects we can apply for additional funding via the competitive Green Communities grants program. Some communities have received as many as seven rounds of funding adding up to over a million dollars.

Download the full report on how Blandford is working toward reducing municipal energy.

PUBLIC HEARING: FY20 Blandford Community Development Fund Application

The Blandford Selectboard will conduct a Public Hearing on Monday, February 10, 2020 at 7:00PM at the Blandford Town Hall, 1 Russell Stage Road, Blandford, MA. In the event of a weather cancellation, the meeting will occur at the next scheduled Select Board meeting on Monday, February 24, 2020 at the same time and location.

The purpose of the hearing will be to discuss the town’s proposed FY20 Community Development Block Program application. The application will be filed no later than March 6, 2020. The Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC) is assisting the town with this application.

Residents are encouraged to attend this meeting to discuss the FY20 application to the MA Department of Housing and Community Development for approximately $550,000 in available Community Development Block Grant Funds. All persons with questions or comments regarding the grant application will have an opportunity to be heard. Those unable to attend can send written comments to the Town Administrator, 1 Russell Stage Road, Blandford, MA 01008.

Projects currently being discussed include housing rehabilitation services to qualified Blandford households and a planning study that will evaluate Blandford properties for accessibility compliance; an ADA Transition Plan.

The Blandford Town Hall and Select Board meeting room are handicapped accessible. Persons who require special accommodations should contact the town at least one week prior to the hearing date at (413) 848-4279. For further information on the proposed application, contact PVPC Principal Planner Christopher Dunphy at (413) 781-6045 or [email protected].

Also, the Council on Aging will be hosting an info session regarding this application on January 24 at 10am during their breakfast. This will take place in the Council on Aging room located at Blandford Town Hall.

DATE CHANGE – Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Public Listening Session

PLEASE NOTE: The date has been changed from February 18th to February 12th.

The Town of Blandford is hosting a public listening session to present on the outcomes of the recent Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) workshop facilitated by the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission. Key stakeholders in Town participated at the workshop to help the Town of Blandford prioritize steps to reduce risk and improve resilience across the Town when faced with natural disasters. The public is invited to review the draft summary of findings report by attending the public listening session scheduled for February 12 at 6:00pm at the Blandford Town Hall, 1 Russell Stage Road.

The report can be downloaded here. At the info session we will go over the report and solicit input from the public. If you can’t make it to the information session, please send comments to the Town Administrator at [email protected].